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Poll: Vote for your favorite version of RAYMONDA


Natalia

What is your favorite version of the full-length RAYMONDA?  

26 members have voted

  1. 1. Favorite RAYMONDA?

    • La Scala (Vikharev's recon of Petipa's 1898 original)
      12
    • Kirov-Mariinsky (1948 Konstantin Sergeyev)
      4
    • Paris Opera Ballet (1983 Rudolf Nureyev)
      4
    • Bolshoi (1984 Yuri Grigorovich)
      6
    • Other full-evening version
      0


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Which well-known version of the full-length (3 act) RAYMONDA do you prefer? Accompanying poll gives the choices: La Scala 1898 recon by Vikharev-after-Petipa; Kirov-Mariinsky 1948 by K. Sergeyev; POB 1983 by Nureyev; 1984 Bolshoi by Grigorovich; or "Other" (explain which).

Films of all of the above are readily available on commercial DVD or, in the case of the POB, via YouTube. Have fun voting and, if you wish, let us know why you voted as you did.

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Indeed, Bessmertnova is a beauty & the embodiment of the more aristocratic sort of Raymonda-Countess de Doris! Yet, if we were voting for performers in the available films, my heart goes to Noella Pontois, not to take away from the others.

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Vote based on dancing Abderhakman leaves Mariinsky and Bolshoi. Nureyev cut much of the dancing for his rival.

True, Nureyev made cuts in his early versions but created some very unique Orientaliste solos for Abderakhman in his final edition for POB in 1983. Some of the new solos were to music not originally intended to be danced by A, e.g., the slow # originally titled "Raymonda's Oriental Dance" in the Glazunov score.

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I voted for the La Scala 1898 recon because it connects the dots. The Bolshoi production can come to life, but only with a charsimatic and technically excellent Raymonda. For me, Ludmilla Semenyaka and Natalia Bessmertnova were both peerless in Grigorovich's production, especially their interpretations of the Act 3 clapping variation. They both evoked sheer drama. They both danced a czardas "aria." It was bel canto - en pointe. I also love the Act 2 solo that Grigorovich choreographed for Abderhakman. No one can touch Gedinemas Taranda's volcanic interpretation. In today's Bolshoi, I have to give it to Maria Allash; she's the best. For the corps de ballet and character dancing, I vote for the Mariinsky-Kirov's 1948 Sergeyev production for passionate precision and Magyar flavor. IMO the Kirov primas who set the bar in this production were (in chronological order): Natalia Dudinskaya, Alla Shelest, Irina Kolpakova, Gabriella Komleva, Galina Mezentseva, Yulia Makhalina, Altynai Asylmuratova, Olga Tchyentchikova, and Lubov Kunakova. In today's Mariinsky, the primas who have broken that bar are: Uliana Lopatkina, Daria Pavlenko, Victoria Tereshkina, and 1st Soloist Olesya Novikova. The best Nureyev Raymondas were Cynthia Gregory and Sylvie Guillem.

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Cygnet, that's quite a bouquet of incredible dancers who you mention! Although Pontois is my favorite among the officially filmed POB Raymondas, kudos must go to Elisabeth Platel as one of the most charming & technically astute among the Parisian Countesses of the Castille de Doris.

Speaking of connecting dots: while re watching the DVD of that glorious La Scala recon of the 1898 original RAYMONDA, I could not help but notice the similarities between this ballet's A1 Valse Provençal and the 1895 Valse Villegois that Petipa created for SWAN LAKE (recently unearthed by Ratmansky and Zurich Ballett)...similar simple floor patterns, steps in place and little flower baskets held by the ladies.

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I remember being surprised how much I liked Grigorovich's Raymonda when they came to Berkeley some years back. Actually, I more than liked it, I loved it. I feared it would be crudel not so. Allash was fabulous.

Semenyaka is my favorite Raymonda ever - -even over Plisetskaya and Kolpakova [who was sensational! -- 16 entrechats-quatre to pointe, travelling backwards!! back in the 60/70s]. Novikova is also stupendous.

WHat a wonderful role!!!

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It is, Paul! I wonder how the three Raymondas at the Kennedy Center, the last week of this month, will compare to the greats you name? The role is perhaps an even bigger technical test than is Aurora. It makes one wonder if any of the "lost" Petipa Prima roles were even tougher technically? I'm thinking Ysaure in BLUEBEARD, or the title roles in CINDERELLA or CAMARGO as danced by Legnani in the final version. (Messrs. Ratmansky, Fullington, Vikharev, Medvedev or Burlaka: hint hint!)

Back to a comparison of the full-length RAYMONDAS. Nobody yet has voted "Other." I was thinking about ABT's recent version and Asami Maki's version in Japan but did not give them their own lines because both clearly follow the Kirov-Mariinsky version by Konstantine Sergeyev.

If only we could travel back in time and see Balanchine's full-length version for the Ballets Russes, starring Danilova!

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I'm going to wait to cast my vote until after the Mariinsky's KC Raymonda run.

I've seen the 3 available videos of the full ballet (Bolshoi with Semenyaka and Bessmertnova and Mariinsky with Kolpakova), plus the videos of Kolpakova in the pas de dix and the short Dudinskaya film.

Live, I've seen the version Nureyev did for ABT (I think I saw Kirkland, Makarova, Gregory & van Hamel, but the only one I really remember is van Hamel - plus the AMAZING sight of Nureyev and Bruhn alternating as Jean de Brienne and Abderhakman!), the most recent ABT production (Part, Ananishvili and Murphy) and the Bolshoi production. I saw Allash with Volchkov and Gracheva/FIllin. The latter were fantastic, and Grachiva instantly became my favorite Raymonda. I remember crystalline technique coupled with lush, plush dancing - beautiful arms and very musical. She was regal, royal, majestic, but she also radiated warmth. Will be interesting to see how today's Mariinsky ballerinas compare to my memory of the Bolshoi's Gracheva, and what the Mariinsky production looks like live.

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NYSusan, that's quite an impressive history with various Raymondas! Have you seen the POB Nureyev version? It's quite different from his ABT and RB Touring Co editions, particularly with regard to Abderakhman and the additional pdd adagio at the very end. The POB RAYMONDA is probably the most luxuriously designed of all and close to the longest (time) version, even more so than La Scala's. I saw it live with Platel in the title role during the 1997 revival at the Bastille venue. To me, the most impressive segment is when Abderakhman's billowing golden tent rises, enveloping the stage. Has POB ever toured this production? Would it even be possible?

The best Raymonda that I saw in the full Mariinsky version was Yulia Makhalina but Ill never forget Lopatkina in A3, in her special evening during one of the Mariinsky Festivals.

Some may not realize that, for a short while in the mid 1990s, the Mariinsky was performing the Grigorovich version, too. In that version, Chenchikova and Ayupova were my faves. Upon Oleg Vinogradov's departure in 95/96, the Konstantin Sergeyev version was reinstated at the Mariinsky.

All said, the La Scala premiere in Oct 2011, got my vote in the poll. I saw both Novikova and Romagna in the title role and both impressed in different ways - Novikova for technique and Romagna for emotion and charm. To me, it is the finest of the four major versions because it's the only one that tells the story fully, as intended (with the White Lady's key role in the resolution of the battle between Jean and Abderakhman). Those few seconds of the White Lady shining that mirror in A's face connects the dots. Furthermore, La Scala alone reproduced the luxurious Tsarist-era designs and did so using the right materials and techniques (as we saw in earlier Vikharev reconstructions of Petipa works at the Mariinsky and Bolshoi).

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NYSusan, that's quite an impressive history with various Raymondas! Have you seen the POB Nureyev version

No Natalia, I've never seen the POB Raymonda, and I haven't been able to find a DVD. All I see is the Dancer's Dream DVD, which looks like a documentary with performance footage.

Getting very excited about the DC performances!

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If only we could travel back in time and see Balanchine's full-length version for the Ballets Russes, starring Danilova!

As they say - be careful of what you wished for! Danilova -- yes, yes, she surely had the 'manner' for it. I have always loved Frederick Franklin's opinion of his Jean de Brienne--"In that awful costume I felt like Ingrid Bergman in 'Joan of Arc'. In those days we had not yet been invaded by English and Russian companies and we were very much into the short works of Fokine, Balanchine, deMille, Tudor and Robbins. The ballet was a bit of a shock to our system. The only 2-act ballets we saw were 'Giselle' and 'Coppelia'. It was not an opulent production, in fact, it was done on a shoestring. However, the Karinska tutus were gorgeous, and all my Raymonda's have been compared to Danilova's.

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Thanks for your recollections, atm711!

After last night's performance of the K. Sergeyev version at the Kennedy Center, I'm wondering if I even want to sit through this two more times on Saturday (2nd & 3rd casts). Such is the effect of a weak Raymonda & Jean de Brienne, to have the power to dash one's love for a ballet. The corps de ballet and a couple of the soloists (Batoeva especially) were fine but, overall, what I saw last night with this version was a downer. (Furthermore, the Virsaladze designs look tackier than ever!) It makes me want to see the La Scala version a thousand times, to set things right in my brain with this ballet!

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Thanks for your recollections, atm711!

After last night's performance of the K. Sergeyev version at the Kennedy Center, I'm wondering if I even want to sit through this two more times on Saturday (2nd & 3rd casts). Such is the effect of a weak Raymonda & Jean de Brienne, to have the power to dash one's love for a ballet. The corps de ballet and a couple of the soloists (Batoeva especially) were fine but, overall, what I saw last night with this version was a downer. (Furthermore, the Virsaladze designs look tackier than ever!) It makes me want to see the La Scala version a thousand times, to set things right in my brain with this ballet!

I understand all too well. I realise I am repeating what I have already said on another thread, but Mariinsky did NOT field its best Raymondas on this tour, and the Jean de Briennes are equally lacklustre, to put it politely. Somova, Lopatkina and Novikova are the best Raymondas, with Kolegova by far the best of the Raymondas on this tour. As for the JdBs - the time for both Ivanchenko and Korsuntsev to hang up their dancing shoes is long past. It is not acceptable merely to be a good porteur these days... And although Askerov has good physique and jumps, he simply has no charisma or acting ability. It is a great shame. Zverev is a wonderful actor with great presence and would have been far better as JdB, although he is a magnetic Abderakhman. But look at the dancers in the corps, coryphee and solo parts. I cannot mention everybody, but look at the immaculate boys in the pas de 4, Sofya I-S, Nadia Batoeva - some of the unsung corps dancers such as Frolova, Varentseva - the wrong dancers were in the leading roles.

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